Free entry for Biennale weekend

SINGAPORE - This weekend is your last chance to catch the contemporary art feast that is the Singapore Biennale, and there will also be some new performances.

These include a dance performance by Odyssey Dance Theatre and an audiovisual performance by local artists Bani Haykal and Shahila Baharom, which are in response to two Biennale works.

As of last weekend, the fourth edition of the art exhibition organised by the Singapore Art Museum has already been attended by more than 500,000 people, which is more than twice the number that attended the previous biennale in 2011.

The current Biennale, which opened on Oct 26 last year, features more than 100 artworks by 82 artists and artist collectives from 13 countries. It ends on Sunday.

While it has so far been a ticketed event, there will be free admission to the Biennale exhibits this closing weekend at the major museums. These are Singapore Art Museum and its contemporary art wing 8Q, the National Museum of Singapore and the Peranakan Museum. The museums will also extend their opening hours to 9pm today and tomorrow.

Odyssey Dance Theatre's performance at the Singapore Art Museum, As We Live..., is a response to Vietnamese artist Nguyen Tran Nam's Biennale work, We Never Fell. The artist's installation, also at the museum, comprises five sculptures that allude to the Vietnamese family structure and society. His work also symbolises the fragility and resilience of human existence.

The dance will not just be about motion, but also the stillness of sculptures, says Danny Tan, artistic director of Odyssey Dance Theatre and choreographer for this dance. The half-hour outdoor performance will feature two local artists, Linnea Ong and Calvin Goh.

Tan, 42, says the performance will also be a test of the two dancers' ability to respond to changes in the environment, especially when the show will be held during sunset.

"I view this as a playground for us to come together as artists and unveil certain highlights that could not be interpreted through just one art form," he adds.

Bani and Shahila's performance on the second level of the Singapore Art Museum will be a response to Malaysian artist Chris Chong Chan Fui's work, Botanic. Chong's work, displayed in the same room, depicts digital drawings of flowers, alluding to the societal acceptance of the artificial replacing the natural.

Bani, 28, a multi-disciplinary artist prominent in the sound art scene, says: "My partner and I came up with a work that looks into the freewheeling boundaries between fact, fiction and the act of selling them. We want people to think about the illusion of experiences, from one's personal conditioning to the feeding of convenient truths."



What: A group of Singapore writers, including Marc Nair, Colin Cheong and Amanda Lee Koe, will be reading poetry and prose centred on the theme of love this Valentine's Day. Visitors will receive limited-edition stickers and chocolate kisses.

Where: Singapore Art Museum

When: Today, 7 to 9pm

Admission: Free


What: A workshop for children aged four onwards. Participants can paint their own tote bags with shapes inspired by Laotian artist Marisa Darasavath's painting in vibrant colours that uses curves and bends. Her work, which focuses on women in a patriachal Lao society, is on display at the Singapore Art Museum as part of the Biennale.

Where: Level 2, Singapore Art Museum

When: Tomorrow, hourly from 1pm

Admission: Free


What: Local artist Hazel Lim's Biennale work, A Botanical And Wildlife Survey - Singapore, involved her documenting Singapore wildlife on porcelain plates. Participants can join her in recreating their sketches on porcelain plates.

Where: Peranakan Museum

When: Tomorrow, 2 to 4.30pm

Admission: $19


What: This outdoor dance performance, featuring local artists Linnea Ong and Calvin Goh, will explore the concept of time in our contemporary world.

Where: Front Lawn, Singapore Art Museum

When: Tomorrow, 6.30 and 7.30pm

Admission: Free


What: In response to Biennale artist Chris Chong Chan Fui's digital drawings of flowers, the duo will put on an audiovisual performance, pushing the audience to think about the illusion of experiences.

Where: Level 2, Singapore Art Museum

When: Tomorrow, 8pm

Admission: Free

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